An Actress's Thoughts

How old are the Sisters Grimme?

How old are the Sisters Grimme?

Today text it’s about analysing the tv movies that were nominated for the Grimme Preis 2013 (Grimme Award). How many actresses and actors were in the main cast and what age groups do they belong to.

The website of the Grimme-Preis (LINK) lists the 17 nominations in the „competition fiction“ as well as some information on crew and cast. Alphabetically, these are the films (the winners in bold letters):

  1. Blaubeerblau
  2. Das Ende einer Nacht
  3. Das Meer am Morgen / La Mer à l’aube
  4. Das unsichtbare Mädchen
  5. Das Wunder von Kärnten
  6. Der Fall Jakob von Metzler
  7. Der letzte schöne Tag
  8. Lösegeld
  9. Mutter muss weg
  10. Polizeiruf 110 – Schuld
  11. Riskante Patienten
  12. Sechzehneichen
  13. Spuren des Bösen
  14. Tatort – Der tiefe Schlaf
  15. Tatort – Die Ballade von Cenk und Valerie
  16. Über uns das All
  17. Zappelphilipp

It’s always a bit difficult with casting lists. Let’s take the first film BLAUBEERBLAU (Blueberryblue) as an example. On the site of the Grimme-Preis 2 actresses and 2 actors are listed, on the site of the TV corporation BR (LINK) it’s a total of 6, at CREW UNITED it’s 23 (including 4 leading parts), in the IMDB it’s 15 (2 leadingparts ) und on German Wikipedia 19. As I did with the Tatort TV crime series evaluation (LINK) I again wanted to use one source for all films, so this will be the information from the Grimme-Preise site, even though the standard used is not quite clear. For each film anything between 4 and 14 acting people are named, so obviously these cannot always be the leading casts.

The following chart shows the distribution for the 17 films:


Again consistent with the Tatorte findings there is a minority of female parts – 52 opposed to 84 – but the ratio is „only“ 1:1,6. The films with more than twice as many actors as actresses named are coloured in the list. We don’t find the opposite situation, i.e. a twofold number of actresses.

Of course I don’t want to criticize men-centered plots in general.  DAS MEER AM MORGEN  (a film about Guy Môquet, a young French communist militant who was executed by Germans in 1941 as a 17-year-old) and DER FALL JAKOB VON METZLER (a film about the kidnapping and murder of Jakob Metzler, 11-year-old son of a German banker and his wife, in 2002) are based on actual events and in both more men than women were involved, as victims, as murderers, as chronicler, as police officers, – so the casting lists are set up accordingly. But it is evident that no comparable women-centered stories were being told.

The next chart shows the age distribution of the characters in 10-year-groups, or rather the age distribution of the named actresses and actors, because I don’t have access to the original demands* on the parts.

*Sometimes the age of a character is changed in the course of casting it. For this here’s an international example: in the film THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY the film’s director Clint Eastwood (then 65) played the mal lead, and Meryl Streep (then 46) the female lead. In the original novel by Robert James Waller the main male character was much younger.


(The ages are derived from the databases of Filmmakers, ZAV, IMDB, websites of agencies and Wikipedia)

The main age group for actresses are the 31 to 40-year-olds, and that for the actors is the 41 to 50s.

Only 7 actresses and 23 actors were older than 50, that’s more than three times more men than women.

On the other end there were only 10 actresses and 10 actors below 30. If we substract the children and youths there’s only 4 (leading) parts for women left in these 17 films. Incidentally, this age group (the 21- to 30-year-olds) is the largest among professional actresses in Germany (as the chart of an older blog entry shows: LINK).

The main adavantage the actresses below 30 have over the 40+ actresses is that the role peak (age 31-40) still lies ahead for them.

Of course it would be interesting to evaluate the complete casts for the films regarding sex and age, but that is not for today.